As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to ravage the country, when it first swept the country, one of the popular trends in law was to sue a company for its handling of it. If a person became ill or died from the disease, a person would open a case against them, which would lead to a meticulous discovery process, followed by a ruling on whether or not a company did enough to protect its consumers or clients from the virus.
Lawmakers swiftly caught on and made amendments specifically for this situation. The consensus being that at the time, so little was known about the virus and so businesses shouldn’t be held liable for something that is out of their control. There are a few critics of this that think leaving businesses vulnerable to liability is for the best for a couple of reasons:
Teaching businesses to not be careless: All personal injury cases involve a degree of negligence. Where a person or entity didn’t commit to their obligation of owing others a duty of care. This same concept applies to businesses where courts will ask questions like: Did the business conform to industry standards for health and safety? Did the business exercise common sense? Did the business take available cost-effective precautions to prevent injury? Answering no to any of these questions (even for the most empathetic of reasons) usually results in a judge ruling in favor of the Plaintiff. Critics say that shielding businesses from Covid-19 liability will encourage businesses to slack off on these standards.
A sign of strength: Apart from airborne viruses, there have been numerous food-borne viruses over the past decade. Usually caused by a single employee’s carelessness to follow standards. That employee’s superior decides to let the case slide and the person above that person does the same. The result is a food-borne virus outbreak that renders millions of dollars worth of product unsellable while making numerous citizens fall ill. Critics say that in leaving businesses open to vulnerability that it sends a signal to such industries that standards must be upheld. After all Covid-19 is believed to have first broken out from a wet market in China where standards can be expected to be subpar.
Prevention of excessive fear: Critics say that making legislation to protect businesses from Covid-19 liability exacerbates fear and makes even the weakest claims that much more legitimate. Cases should (the few that get heard) be allowed to run their course and their proceedings publicly known so that the futility of making baseless claims becomes common sense.